Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Scotland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII.  1876–79.
 
Staffa, the Island
Fingal’s Cave
John Keats (1795–1821)
 
NOT Aladdin magian
Ever such a work began;
Not the wizard of the Dee
Ever such a dream could see;
Not Saint John, in Patmos’ isle,        5
In the passion of his toil,
When he saw the churches seven,
Golden aisled, built up in heaven,
Gazed at such a rugged wonder!
As I stood its roofing under,        10
Lo! I saw one sleeping there,
On the marble cold and bare;
While the surges washed his feet,
And his garments white did beat,
Drenched about the sombre rocks;        15
On his neck his well-grown locks,
Lifted dry above the main,
Were upon the curl again.
“What is this? and what art thou?”
Whispered I, and touched his brow;        20
“What art thou? and what is this?”
Whispered I, and strove to kiss
The spirit’s hand, to wake his eyes.
Up he started in a trice:
“I am Lycidas,” said he,        25
“Famed in fun’ral minstrelsy!
This was architectured thus
By the great Oceanus!—
Here his mighty waters play
Hollow organs all the day;        30
Here, by turns, his dolphins all,
Finny palmers, great and small,
Come to pay devotion due,—
Each a mouth of pearls must strew!
Many a mortal of these days        35
Dares to pass our sacred ways;
Dares to touch, audaciously,
This cathedral of the sea!
I have been the pontiff-priest,
Where the waters never rest,        40
Where a fledgy sea-bird choir
Soars forever! Holy fire
I have hid from mortal man;
Proteus is my sacristan!
But the dulled eye of mortal        45
Hath passed beyond the rocky portal;
So forever will I leave
Such a taint, and soon unweave
All the magic of the place.”
So saying, with a spirit’s glance        50
He dived!
 
 
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